PRB coals going further afield

Ursa Major, a Bucyrus Erie 2570WS dragline is the third largest dragline ever built and weighs in at over 6700 tons.

Black Thunder's BE-2570 WS dragline - Ursa Major never rests

I was reminded of the growing importance of the PRB region as I read this short post on the Pay Dirt Mining magazine blog. The post discusses the growing reach of PRB coals and how “PRB of eastern Wyoming and Montana is being used — as far as western New York and Georgia. The post also notes how PRB coals are the subject of increasing foreign demand and are becoming a larger player in the export market.

I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to tour Arch’s Black Thunder mine in August. As most Coalblog readers will know, Black Thunder is also located in the PRB region – in Campbell County, WY. It is the largest single mining complex on the planet and has produced over 1 billion tons of coal. The mine actually produces almost 4 tons of coal per second, as it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A herd of contented black angus enjoy their grazing experience on reclaimed mine land.

What mining?

Despite that level of production the managers and employees at the Black Thunder mine do an amazing job of reclaiming the mined areas. A portion of the areas that I toured included reclaimed and sensitive areas that had been managed for a mix of agricultural and wildlife uses.

Here’s just a few pictures of the massive machines and incredible reclamation work that is going on at the Black Thunder mine every day.

Thanks to Wendy, Lynn, and Kim at Arch for all their help!!

05. October 2011 by Jason Hayes
Categories: Export, Mining, Powder River Basin | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on PRB coals going further afield